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Announcing Washington Classical Review

Ionarts quietly celebrated its 13th anniversary last month. This site was born in the heyday of the blog, a form that has come and gone in the last decade. Most bloggers, including those who made Ionarts happen, have moved into other areas of the new media. You may have noticed that the daily posting here at Ionarts has lapsed in the last few weeks, as I have devoted a good part of my summer writing hours to a couple book projects (more about those, hopefully, at a later date). Furthermore, it has not escaped our notice that fewer and fewer people actually come to this Web site — any Web site, for that matter — every day to read a regular post.

At the end of this month, most of the regular features of this site will be transferred to a new publication called Washington Classical Review. It is the most recent addition to The Classical Review network, led by Lawrence A. Johnson, and I will serve as Associate Editor and critic. WCR will cover all major classical events in Washington, D.C., as well as selected events in Baltimore and Virginia. Prominent Ionarts features such as the concert calendar, season and monthly concert picks, the Sunday streaming audio and video roundup (Perchance to Stream), and concert and dance reviews will instead appear at WCR starting in September.

Ionarts will not disappear. The archived posts from the last 13 years will remain exactly where they are. Jens and I will likely continue cross-posting our work published by other outlets. Occasional posts on art, theater, film, and recordings will appear here from time to time.

The alchemy of how any writing accrues hits online relies on a mysterious and apparently random series of events, as people link to it on various social media. If there are ways you think that classical music coverage might reach you more conveniently or if there are ways to improve your digital access to our content, please send me a message: ionarts (at) gmail dot com.


Gary said...

I hope this is good news. I rely on Ionarts often.

Charles T. Downey said...

It is very good news. Everything you rely on here, you will get at WCR, I promise!

Dan K said...

Hi Charles - Thanks for the great work you do. I will miss the blog but look forward to Washington Classical Review!

Barry Lyons said...

Is Washington Classical Review really going to happen? I ask because look what I get when I click on the URL: a GoDaddy page for the domain name.

Matt said...

I've very much enjoyed Ionarts--thank you for the thirteen years of hard work! I look forward to reading the new site.

When does the link go live?

Martin said...

Will there be a redirect on the Ionarts home page? Have you notified Google (however one does that - paid ad, perhaps)? Any congrats. Great site looking forward to more and even better.

N said...

Good Morning,

I have been a devoted visitor to this website since soon after its birth, which in 2003 coincided with my initial first-ever exploration and immersion into the world of classical music and opera. I have referred countless people to this site over the years, including strangers I have sat next to at the opera houses and concert halls. I learned about the blog through Jens upon making his acquaintance at Tower Record, and who became such a fantastic guide during my novitiate and has continuously remained to this day a tremendous counselor and guide on my myriads of CD procurement emergencies.

I am so relieved that the blog and its extensive and insightful archives will stay online, because I frequently visit not only to read new posts, but also to do searches through old posts to look up a review about something or other, or to look through some of your wonderful posts surveying entire recorded cycles of various composers' symphonies and such.

I would be especially disheartened if the new website excludes the "Per Chance to Stream" feature, the "A mon chevet" feature, your periodic coverage of national events outside this region (e.g., Santa Fe Opera, etc.), and Jens' fabulous coverage of Europe and the concerts, operas, festivals in Europe that he has been covering for us on ionarts since his return to Germany. If Jens will be covering Europe in certain European publications, please let me know their names. I know he started writing for one European magazine, but can't remember the name.

The lovely thing about ionarts has been not only how comprehensive, insightful, and eloquently written (marvelous quality of prose), but how very simple and easy-to-use this site has always been, unlike most other news sites and media blogs. This blog has been so fantastic and comprehensive that it has made it possible for me to live vicariously through your experiences, as I'm unable to attend many local events, let alone such events and programs in Europe and elsewhere.

Thank you for all these wonderful memorable years of ionarts, as well as for your diligent, witty, excellent expert reporting all these years. I will look forward to visiting the new Washington Classical Review site when it goes live, as its link is not working at the moment.

All the best to you both,

Nicholas in DC

Charles T. Downey said...

Thanks to everyone who has written comments and sent me email expressing their concern and support. We have been blessed over the years by some of the most devoted readers and we thank you! One of the advantages of WCR will be indexing by Google News. I applied several times to have Google News include reviews from Ionarts, but the site was never approved for various administrative reasons that distinguish author-driven blogs from editor-driven news sites. I will be continuing the Perchance to Stream feature on Sundays at WCR, but WCR will not include recording reviews, so most of those pieces will continue to appear at Ionarts.

Unknown said...

I found you a couple years ago when searching for any online presence of Paolo Pandolfo. Then I discovered the weekly Stream listing and that became part of my Sunday mostly morning internet routine. I now get plenty of that from the FB groups and pages to which I subscribe, as well as visits to some of the more useful sites like France Musique and Radio3 which make their broadcasts accessible without excessive tedious searching.

Since I live near Boston, most of your reviews of local performances have not been of more than passing interest to me. Since I'm nearly wholly focussed on primarily French baroque music right now, commentary on much of anything else gets glossed over as well.

After more than 20 years of internet use I am still convinced of the value of email delivery of certain kinds of information. The 5 or 6 email lists to which I subscribe are delivered to me with subject headers so that I can rapidly discard the subjects in which I have no interest, and read and respond to those I keep. Conversation often seems best promoted with that tool but expansion of outreach is hard. Drawing a general audience into becoming a pool of subscribers is the hitch.

I find FB's "like" tool nearly always squelches real conversation. The advantage to it is in outreach, something which a web site consumes hours of ones time caring for. The greatest negative of FB is the copyright problem. Control goes out the window, altho in the interest of having my work seen I do put it there. It's some kind of bargain and I'm never certain it's all bad.

I will certainiy be following you to your new endeavor, as I have a morning internet routing which accomodates that. Reaching people who are not so organized is another matter.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Sounds good! Are you still planning to restore the last post (symphony #4) in the Mahler survey?

Best of luck,

Charles T. Downey said...

Yes, I think Jens is still planning to restore the Mahler 4 post, and I know he has more discography projects on the way. Thanks for reading!

Jonathan Cook said...

Thanks, Charles, Ionarts has been a great resource and I've enjoyed reading over the years. I am an especially big fan of your stream summary every week, and hope that the new version on WCR will be just as comprehensive. I looked this week and it seemed much briefer. Good luck with the next steps!

Emily L. Ferguson said...

Well, I see the weekly stream has basically disintegrated. Finding it on twitter is beyond inconvenient, especially for those who already are overcommitted to social media and would like to avoid adding any further sites. The tag is so desultorily used that it is of no value too.

So sorry. I really depended on the listing of stuff in the stream.